With Hurricane Earl wreaking havoc across the east coast, subsequently postponing tonight’s game between the Red Sox and White Sox, I figure now is a good time to reflect on the month of August for the White Sox.
To put it in general terms, the offense was amazing and the pitching was pretty horrible to say the least.
Let’s start with the pitching so we can at least end this post on a high note. The whole White Sox pitching staff suffered a huge meltdown, with the exception of Edwin Jackson. As a team, they posted a 14-15 record which put them in the middle of the pack in terms of wins. Their combined 4.23 ERA was the 10th worst in the majors and 5th worst in the American League. Their 125 earned runs was 7th worst in the majors and 3rd worst in the American League. Their .264 BAA put them 8th worst in the majors and 4th worst in the American League. Their 1.38 WHIP wasn’t all that hot either. The most staggering (and probably most important) stats from August are home runs and saves. The White Sox pitching staff gave up 39 home runs in August, most in the majors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the White Sox blew 6 saves (most in the majors) and had only a 45% save percentage (2nd worst in the majors). If there are two reasons as to why the White Sox only won 14 games in August, it’s because of those last two stats.Then add on the loss of Erick Threets for the rest of this year and next year, plus the temporary loss of both Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz and that more than explains the meltdown of the bullpen in August.
Here’s how the pitching staff did individually:
Mark Buehrle: (3-2) 41 IP, 15 ER, 4 HR, 12 BB, 17 SO, 3.29 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
It wasn’t his best month of the season but wasn’t his worst either. He does need to pitch much better in September though
Gavin Floyd: (3-3) 39.2 IP, 20 ER, 6 HR, 16 BB, 32 SO, 4.54 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
August was his worst month since May. He gave up almost the same amount of home runs in August as he has for the rest of the season prior to August. His ERA jumped from a 0.80 in July to 4.54 in August and may be a concerning trend going into September.
Edwin Jackson: (3-0) 36.2 IP, 6 ER, 3 HR, 8 BB, 45 SO, 1.47 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Jackson is pitching like the ace of the staff right now. He didn’t suffer a loss in August and dominated almost every start. His walk totals are way down and control issues are becoming a thing of the past.
John Danks: (1-1) 32.1 IP, 17 ER, 6 HR, 10 BB, 26 SO, 4.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
August has been Danks’ worst month over the course of his career and this year it was no different. This month was almost as bad as May except for the fact he went 1-1 and not 1-4.
Freddy Garcia: (1-1) 27.2 IP, 17 ER, 7 HR, 9 BB, 15 SO, 5.53 ERA, 1.48 WHIP
The “ace’ version of Freddy Garcia that we had in the beginning of the season is all but gone at this point. If his poor stats in August aren’t enough, he got taken out of his last start due to stiffness in his lower back. This could be a sign of him breaking down as many people expected but we will just have to see.
The bullpen on a whole was terrible. Aside from rookie Chris Sale, everyone else had their share of problems from injuries to pitching poorly to blown saves, it was all around terrible and cost the White Sox ground in the division.
Scott Linebrink: (1-1) 12.1 IP, 6 ER, 3 HR, 1 BB, 10 SO, 4.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
Sergio Santos: (1-0) 8.2 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR, 5 BB, 7 SO, 5.19 ERA, 2.31 WHIP, 1 blown save
J.J. Putz: (1-3) 1 save, 6 ER, 2 HR, 6.75 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 8.0 IP, 3 blown saves
Tony Pena: (0-1) 17.1 IP, 16 ER, 2 HR, 8.31 ERA, 1.73 WHIP
Bobby Jenks: (0-0) 4 saves, 13 IP, 6 ER, 1 HR, 4.15 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2 blown saves
Carlos Torres: (0-1) 9.1 IP, 7 ER, 1 HR, 6.75 ERA, 2.46 WHIP
Chris Sale: (0-1) 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Matt Thornton: (0-1) 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 HR, 3.68 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
The offense on the other hand did more than it’s job keeping the White Sox in games. These are just a few of their rankings in the major offense categories in August:
155 runs (1st in AL, 2nd in MLB)
311 hits (1st in MLB)
49 doubles (13th in MLB)
9 triples (2nd in MLB, 1st in AL)
34 home runs (3rd in AL, 6th in MLB)
148 RBI (2nd in MLB, 1st in AL)
.298 BA (1st in MLB)
.354 OBP (1st in MLB)
.460 SLG (1st in MLB)
27 stolen bases (2nd in AL and MLB)
92 XBH (7th in MLB, 4th in AL)
A huge part of those impressive stats has been Paul Konerko. All season long Konerko has been playing MVP type caliber baseball and hasn’t slowed down. August was Konerko’s best month of the season. His .382 BA was ranked 6th in the AL, his .473 OBP ranked 9th, .609 SLG ranked 15th, 7 home runs tied for 6th best, and 23 RBI tied for 2nd best. If he can continue this type of play throughout September, then he can easily slide into the MVP race and possibly win it if the White Sox can get into the postseason.
Here’s how the White Sox did individually on offense:
Paul Konerko: .382/.473/.609 4 doubles, 7 home runs, 23 RBI
Juan Pierre: .354/.407/.425 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 13 stolen bases
A.J. Pierzynski: .333/.356/.464 8 doubles, 1 home run, 13 RBI
Mark Teahen: .317/.349/.512 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 8 RBI
Ramon Castro: .314/.333/.514 1 double, 2 home runs, 5 RBI
Gordon Beckham: .309/.400/.531 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 14 RBI
Mark Kotsay: .308/.348/.523 4 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 10 RBI
Omar Vizquel: .284/.360/.318 3 doubles, 6 RBI
Alexei Ramirez: .281/.297/.446 8 doubles, 4 home runs, 14 RBI
Andruw Jones: .273/.385/.606 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 6 RBI
Alex Rios: .261/.303/.409 4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 18 RBI, 6 stolen bases
Carlos Quentin: .239/.320/.424 3 doubles, 1 triples, 4 home runs, 13 RBI
Brent Lillibridge: .188/.188/.375 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 4 RBI
The White Sox are having no problems scoring runs but the pitching is constantly letting them down. If the White Sox are to have any shot in making the playoffs, the pitching is going to need to step up and hold down leads. The bullpen, especially Bobby Jenks, J.J Putz, and Matt Thornton need to get back on track. The bullpen can’t blow any more saves from here on out. The starting pitching needs to stop giving up so many home runs and improve their overall numbers.
For the offense, they just need to continue doing what they are doing. If everyone can hit like they have been, Paul Konerko continues his MVP caliber year, and no major injuries occur then the White Sox are set. If Manny Ramirez can get hot like he did when he first got to Los Angeles, this offense is going to be one of the most dangerous in baseball.
It’s a lot to ask for but the White Sox are more than capable of it and more than capable of catching the Twins.